Kashmir rights group barred from holding presser on Handwara molestation

Srinagar, April 16 (IANS) A Kashmir rights group that was to hold a press conference on Saturday on the alleged molestation of a young girl in Handwara by the security forces earlier this week has alleged that the police have barred the media from entering the venue.

Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) convener Khurram Parvez told IANS: “Police have cordoned the JKCCS office and are not allowing the media to speak to the family of the girl who was sexually assaulted in Handwara.”

The JKCCS had invited the mother and uncle of the young girl for an interaction with the media. The alleged molestation on Tuesday led to violent protests, and subsequently to the deaths of five people in firing by security forces. The army has denied the involvement of any trooper in the alleged molestation.

“There is a huge contingent of police deployed around the office and the family is not allowed to speak to the media,” Parvez said, adding that it reflects on the sincerity of the state government “in letting the truth come forward”.

However, police have denied that the media was barred from entering the premises. They said the venue of the press conference falls in an area that was under restrictions due to the unrest.

“Restrictions have been imposed in the area where the press conference venue is. We have not barred them (JKCCS) from holding the press conference,” Javaid Mujtaba Gilani, Inspector General of Police, told IANS.

“They can hold the press conference in an area where there is no restriction,” he added.

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